The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) and the International Shipping Federation (ISF) have published new ‘Shipping Industry Guidance on Environmental Compliance’ as a template for ensuring adherence to the IMO MARPOL Convention. The Guidance is also supported by BIMCO, Intercargo, Intertanko, OCIMF and SIGTTO. The Shipping Industry Guidance is also intended to satisfy environmental compliance programmes introduced by governments, such as the United States Coast Guard ‘Environmental Crimes: Voluntary Disclosure Policy’.
The Shipping Industry Guidance sets out various elements to be reviewed in order that shipping company Boards of Directors can verify full environmental compliance throughout their operations. This includes advice on instilling corporate and individual responsibility for compliance amongst both shore based management and seagoing staff; the need for training in the vital importance of environmental compliance - including consequences of MARPOL violations such as criminal penalties and imprisonment; and the importance of proper budgeting and investment in technical equipment, auditing and reporting systems.
The development of the new industry Guidance has been prompted by disappointment at the number of prosecutions for MARPOL violations which continue to be brought against shipping companies, especially in the United States, and draws upon discussions with the US authorities. The input of the Chamber of Shipping of America and the Liberian Shipowners’ Council, which are members of ICS and ISF, has been particularly helpful in drawing up the Guidance. The industry recommends that the management of every shipping company should thoroughly review its Safety Management Systems, as required by the IMO international Safety Management (ISM) Code, to ensure that environmental compliance is fully addressed in every respect. It is of the utmost importance that every Board of Directors is sure that, if requested, it can verify total environmental compliance throughout the company.